Despite quite a few articles stating Sphero was behind the technology that made the real movie BB-8 droid, like this Tech Crunch article:
and this excerpt from Fortune Magazine:
The same underlying technology (made by Sphero), which was licensed to create the version of BB-8 that graced the stage at the Star Wars Celebration…
Heck, even we drank the jungle juice with our original coverage! But now it seems the truth is finally coming out. As it turns out, it was actually built in Pinewood by the Creature Animatronics (CFX) team which includes [Matt Denton] — He’s the guy who built the Mantis Robot. A hacker / engineer — not a big toy company.
Two articles released this week on StarWars.com and EmpireOnline.com name various people from the CFX team at Pinewood as having built the movie puppets and the real BB-8. No mention of Sphero at all of course. They also state that they had to come up with the technology from scratch and that nothing like it already existed.
The analysis here is that basically Disney has a share holding in Sphero — they have now received $81 million of external investment off the back of it, so it’s ultimately all about the bottom line. The information about Sphero being behind the real BB-8, which neither Disney or Sphero had previously denied, was kicked off by the statement during the footage of the real BB-8 on stage that “it was all made possible by Bob Iger”. [Bob] is the CEO of Disney and brought Sphero into his accelerator program for start-ups. Obviously it’s taken until now for the CFX team to get any credit whatsoever for building BB-8.
The funny thing is, some of the news outlets have started to change the story concerning Sphero/BB-8, like this article about the new Sphero toy, covered by Gizmodo — conveniently edited over night (you’ll have to take our word for it), to no longer state that Sphero was behind the technology for the real BB-8:
It was rumored that Sphero, a company that’d been been making remote control robotic balls for years, was behind the real-life version of BB-8. It wasn’t, but that didn’t stop the toy world rumor-mill from also getting excited about Sphero possibly turning its existing robotic toy ball into a miniature version of BB-8. And good news for Star Wars fans—at least some of those rumors turned out to be true.
It’s unfortunate that big companies like this will take credit for something that they did not do, but we’re happy to see the truth coming out of the wood work.
And regardless of BB-8’s origins, which we’ve confirmed is definitely not Sphero tech, the new toy Sphero did release is pretty darn cool: